Updated: Apr 22, 2021
We have been heading this direction for a while. The pandemic only accelerated the transition. It doesn’t have a name yet, but we are all aware of it. It's here and it goes way beyond gigs and garage manufacturing. It is the economy of the individual, a marketplace where persons are no longer paid laborers inside an economic unit, the company they work for, but rather individual economy unit in their own right, or IEU's. It is technology that has enabled this transition, productivity tools, communication tools and connectivity platforms. And it is completely global. It has brought forth marketplaces where products and services can be bought and sold, regardless of scale, enabling each individual to create a presence and muscle a marketing effort for products and services, and operate all of it alone, starting from one unit of anything, operating from the surface of a pop up table. The IEU's broad spectrum of economic activity reaches all corners of the economy; transport, manufacturing, services and marketing through global mega platforms like Alibaba, Amazon, Ebay, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and countless more, where the boundaries of social and marketplace purposes have been obliterated.
Let’s be clear, all of these activities pre-existed. A guy with a truck always offered to deliver, and a girl with a calculator was always organizing accounting books. A kid has operated a lemonade stand since the invention of lemonade. The preacher on a box was the original podcaster and the Avon lady was the original social influencer. Nothing is new, yet everything is new! It is in the context of technology tooling, hardware and software, that this new marketplace has blossomed, and it ignores requirements of scale, gatekeeping, cost and other barriers of entry. It's open to and for everyone.
Through the experience of the pandemic, conditions of isolation, economic challenges, and perhaps time availability, a space has opened up for reflection and creative dabble. These unexpected, and unwanted conditions, have been the wind in the sail of individual economy units, pushing them to the shore of opportunity, leaving workplace dependencies and obstacles of cost and scale behind. It signifies a huge shift, and an incredible entrepreneurial opportunity for individuals. To think what passions, strengths, creativity and capabilities have been waiting for the for the right moment for courage to mount, to act on, and to do.
When it’s just you and your idea, the risk is very low and that is what’s so great about it. All you need to do is collect your thoughts, organize them, channel them through your senses and activate them with your hands, feet and your entire being. That’s all you need, and oh yes, access to a computer and an internet connection. It can start as a weekend project and with persistence evolve to become a business with income sustaining a whole family. And it doesn’t have to become a SpaceX. Providing income for you alone, or your loved ones can be enough for your unit. Doing what you love is the greatest opportunity for a meaningful life, and the pursuit of happiness, security and self fulfillment. The tools are all here and the conditions are right, right now.